With the Cubs fresh off a letdown of a season and perhaps seeking to shake up their core, catcher Willson Contreras was the subject of trade speculation at the beginning of the winter. Contreras hasn’t gone anywhere, though, and now looks likely to begin the 2020 campaign as a member of the Cubs – the only organization he has known since signing out of Venezuela in 2009.
The 27-year-old Contreras discussed trade buzz centering on him Monday, saying (via Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times): “This past winter, the trade rumors were more consistent than the year before, and I was aware of it. I was trying to not pay attention to it, but it was impossible. Every time I was on social media, a new article was coming out about me being traded. Now that I’m here, I feel blessed once again. I’m happy to be here. I love this organization and my teammates. I’m really excited to have another great 2020 season with all my team.”
At last check, the Cubs weren’t pleased with the offers they’d gotten for Contreras. He’s one of the most valuable catchers in the game, and there weren’t many high-end backstops available in free agency, so they understandably held out for a sizable return. To this point, though, no club has presented a proposal acceptable enough for the Cubs.
Now, it appears Contreras will at least start the upcoming campaign as a Cub. And despite the rumors that have surrounded him, Contreras is open to remaining a Cub for the long haul. Contereras, who batted .272/.355/.533 with 24 home runs in 409 plate appearances last season, is willing to discuss a long-term deal with the team. He said Monday that he’s “always going to be open about talking to the Cubs about an extension.”
There haven’t been any extension talks between Contreras and the Cubs this offseason, according to Wittenmyer. However, Chicago’s not under immediate pressure to lock up the two-time All-Star. Contreras is under control via arbitration for the next three seasons, and he’ll make $4.5MM in 2020. That salary’s a bargain relative to what he brings to the table.